Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made a secret deal with President Donald Trump. He turns a blind eye to his lies and incendiary posts in the hope that Facebook will not become the president's next target…
Rumors like the one above have been circulating for months, but Zuckerberg himself denied them, citing Axios that there is no such agreement.
"I have heard this rumor too, so let me be clear: There is no agreement," Zuckerberg said. "In fact, the whole idea of a deal is ridiculous."
Mark Zuckerberg's remarks come in response to growing concerns about Zuckerberg's relationship with the president, which remain cordial despite concerns about the president's misuse of social media.
NBC News reported last year that Trump hosted Mark Zuckerberg at a secret dinner at the White House. The dinner took place just a week after Zuckerberg in a speech confirmed that Facebook will not control political ads, giving Trump permission to share misleading videos, ads and posts on the world's largest social network.
Since then, the president and his supporters have started using Facebook as a tool, sharing videos of campaigns and lies about postal voting (mail-in ballots.). There have also been incidents in which Facebook seems to have escaped completely and has not removed misleading news posted by politicians.
Just this week, one research published by HEATED and Popular Information revealed that Facebook stopped fact-checking in a "partially false" article on climate change published by the right news site The Daily Wire.
Η refusal Facebook's removal of some posts, such as Trump's response to Minneapolis protests against racist police violence ("when the looting begins, the shootings begin") has certainly cost the company. Currently faces employee strikes and boycott of advertisers because of her refusal to put limits on what the President writes.
Roger McNamee, a venture capitalist, early Facebook investor and now well-known critic of the company, said in the New York Times last month that he believed the two had some deal. McNamee said the deal was "probably implied rather than explicit" and "extremely useful", but also mutually beneficial.
McNamee said: "Trump needs the thumb of Facebook to win this election."
To support McNamee's claim, the Times reported that the Justice Department-led antitrust investigations into US tech giants appear to be very flexible and polite to Zuckerberg's company.
Zuckerberg and Facebook's response to the accusations of a deal was to highlight the various disagreements they had with the White House on issues such as immigration policy and climate change. Speaking to Axios about dinner with Trump last year, the Facebook CEO said:
"I accepted the invitation to dinner because I was in town and because he is the president of the United States. "I also had many meals and meetings with President Obama… both at the White House and abroad, including hosting an event for him on Facebook HQ," Zuckerberg told Axios.
But just because there is no formal (or even tacit) agreement does not mean that the interests of Zuckerberg and Trump are not aligned. Zuckerberg wants to avoid accusations of anti-conservative prejudice and thorough antitrust investigations, while Trump wants to keep saying what he wants to say to the American public without fear of censorship.
However, according to a recent article in The Washington Post, Zuckerberg has been shaping Facebook's rules to match Trump's rhetoric for quite some time now. In 2015, as Trump began attracting supporters as a candidate, he posted a video on Facebook in which he said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States. According to the publication, the video angered many Facebook employees who said that it violated the company's policies of hate speech, but Zuckerberg eventually left the video due to the "youth" of a model that would become political in 2016.
In other words, if Zuckerberg has made a deal with Trump, he has for a long time.
Published on TheVerge